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Michelle Obama electrifies DNC convention

By Hazel Trice Edney
On July 28, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Democratic National Convention. PHOTO: Paulette Shipman-Singleton/Trice Edney News Wire

PHILADELPHIA ( – First Lady Michelle Obama was once again the star of the Democratic National Convention this week with her delivery of an electrifying speech that wowed a convention audience – which was still divided between Hillary Clinton and independent Bernie Sanders on Monday.

In a speech punctuated with repeated applause and cheers, the first lady sought to convince a hostile audience – in the arena – and the millions watching by television and Internet, to unite behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the person that must lead America to its next level – instead of her opponent Republican Donald Trump.

“I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters – a President who truly believes in the vision that our founders put forth all those years ago: That we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story,” she said.

She sought to describe the difference between Clinton and Trump, known for his name-calling and vitriolic expressions of prejudices.

“And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other – no, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together.”

She continued, “And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why, in this election, ‘I’m with her,’” she said to applause as she quoted the popular motto on the thousands of placards, t-shirts and political paraphernalia in the room.

She alluded to Clinton’s well-known affinity for public policies that improve the lives of children; praised her choice of former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as vice president; compared her to the people who lined up to give blood for the victims of the Orlando terrorist attack; and credited her as a woman presidential candidate for “putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her.”

Obama then dropped the portion of the speech that drew the most vigorous applause of the night:

“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent, Black young women – playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters – and all our sons and daughters – now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”

Without using Trump’s name in the entire speech, Obama successfully made the contrast – even with his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The passion and authority of her voice – plus her widely respected reputation – silenced sporadic protesters and Sen. Bernie Sanders' delegates who had interrupted all other speakers Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia – including their favored candidate with chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

Blockbuster speakers were lined up, including former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday, President Barack Obama and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine on Wednesday and culminating with the acceptance speech by Clinton at the end of the convention on Thursday night.

With a regular election record of at least 90 percent Black support for the Democratic Party, the leaders are apparently taking nothing for granted. The first lady, who also rendered a spellbinding speech in the 2012 convention for the re-election of her husband was clear this week on what the election of Clinton will take:

“In this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired, or frustrated, or cynical,” she said. “Hear me. Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago: We need to knock on every door. We need to get out every vote. We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as President of the United States of America. Let’s get to work.”

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